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2 part question: Lava Rocks & Mondo grass

Hello listmembers,

I have been lurking for a few weeks now, so I know some of you will be able
to help me. 

I have a 33 gal (12" x 36" x 18") tank. It was given to me by the previous
tenant of my apartment (yay.), but had lava rocks siliconed to the entirety
of the rear glass. Some of these were supporting Java ferns. Needless to
say, I stripped the tank, but a few of those ferns were handsome enough, and
they were also the only plants I had, so I put them back in, still attached
to their host lava rocks. I built a canopy with 2x36" (30w) tubes and
replaced the decrepit AquaFlow 201 filter with a Fluval 304. Temp is 78F
(26C). Lights are on 10 hours a day. No CO2. Fish: 3 angels, 1 zebra loach,
1 big old cory (a survivor from the original setup), 14 Amano shrimp, 1
smallish Pleco.

Five months later I have a moderately planted tank.  (Egeria densa,
Echinodorus macrophyllus, Aponegeton crispus, Hygrophila, Crypts, some type
of Nymphea and the above mentioned Mondo grass (more on that later)).
However, I am experiencing some weird plant issues:

1. Initially, I planted some Hydrocotyle leucocephala. They never
flourished. They did produce some new leaves but these rarely exceeded the
size of a quarter. Older leaves turned very pale and limp... I eliminated
this plant from my tank. Easy to grow? Not for me.

2. My Hygro: While it has produced a fairly dense carpet, the leaves remain
smallish and are often slightly curled, both along their edges and at the

3. My swords: a fairly recent addition to the tank, these are producing new
leaves and losing their original leaves (normal?) but the new leaves are
small and bolt straight for the top.

Could any of this be attributed to the lava rocks? What other factors might
be in play

I bought something at the LFS labelled Mondo Grass. Curly blue-green blades,
about 6" high, blades sprout from the base of the plant in a nearly
symmetrical interwoven pattern. Roots are thick (1-2mm) with little bulbous
swellings here and there. Contrary to the info on the Krib's blacklist, it
has survived more than a month and is producing new growth. What is it?! (It
does resemble the pictures of terrestrial Mondo Grass I have spotted

Thanks in advance,

Matt Jarsky